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Austin Airport Tracks Cell Phones To Measure Security Line Wait

jcrb Maybe good, maybe bad. (168 comments)

While it certainly saves the average traveler from having to guess the queue length and service rate for themselves so they can estimate the wait via Little's Law ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... )
It is hard to see how it manages to not be confused by people standing around the entrance and then walking away rather than in, or separate those speeding through the Priority or Pre-Check lines from the regular lines.

It would seem a simple electric eye counter or just giving the guy who sorts you into lines a clicker might do just as good a job. So while I don't like hopping into the tin foil hat explanations too quickly it is hard not to suspect that maybe this is just a cover story for the fact that they are indeed using it for surveillance purposes.

But then they already know everything I am doing in the airport tracking my phone doesn't personally make me any more under their eye than I already am. Not that I like them gathering all this data and lying about what they keep, I'm just not sure this actually adds to the degree I have already had my privacy compromised by the government.

about 3 months ago

Living On a Carbon Budget: The End of Recreation As We Know It?

jcrb Re:The end somehow is always 30 years away (652 comments)

Except the article said we run out in 30 years

Earth’s carbon budget—the remaining amount of fossil fuels that scientists calculate can be burned without destroying the climate—will last only about 30 years at the rate we’re going.

The 2035 date had to do with bringing everyone to the US standard of living.

about 4 months ago

Living On a Carbon Budget: The End of Recreation As We Know It?

jcrb The end somehow is always 30 years away (652 comments)

Close enough that we have to DO SOMETHING NOW!, but far enough that no one will ever be called to account for being wrong, but not so far away that it's not in our life time and can be ignored. Having lost track of the number of such deadlines for the point of no return that have already passed in my life time let me just say I am a little skeptical.

And you know the Indians, the Chinese, and many others could care less and are going right on growing their populations and carbon production and there is no chance they will do anything but grow for the next 30 years. So if the author is right and we have only that long before we have irrevocably ruined our environment, then the choice for those of us in the industrial world is clear.

Enjoy all the vacations and recreational activities you can now. No seriously, if they are right then we are doomed, so you might as well enjoy it while you can, and they are wrong then you will have the last laugh while they sit around entertaining themselves doing the crossword puzzles, while they suffer without air conditioning.

about 4 months ago

Verizon Wireless Caves To FCC Pressure, Says It Won't Throttle 4G Users

jcrb English is so wonderful flexible. (46 comments)

"Unlimited" has as much meaning for Verizon as "Evil" does for Google.

about 4 months ago

The Physics of Space Battles

jcrb Exactly why the Honor Harrington series is great (470 comments)

It is both modeled on Napoleonic Navel Fiction while at the same time being physically accurate withing the constraints of its sci-fi universe. Accelerate at full speed for an hour in one direction, well then it will take you an hour to come to a stop. Long trips at high fractions of the speed of light have shorted subjective shipboard times. The light speed time lag in sensors and communication plays significant tactical and strategic roles in almost all the battles.

If you love space opera or Aubrey/Hornblower and you like accurate physics then you definitely want to read the Harrington series by David Weber http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H...

about 4 months ago

850 Billion NSA Surveillance Records Searchable By Domestic Law Enforcement

jcrb Search for me but not for thee (207 comments)

Oh sure they have a wonderful system for searching what they want to search and can't be troubled to search what they should be able to but don't want to..

"Department of Justice attorneys for the Internal Revenue Service told Judicial Watch on Friday that Lois Lerner’s emails, indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe. The Obama administration attorneys said that this back-up system would be too onerous to search. "

The saying "Laws are for the little people" used to be funny, now, not so much.

about 5 months ago

Ryan Lackey, Marc Rogers Reveal Inexpensive Tor Router Project At Def Con

jcrb There is an upside to this (38 comments)

Getting lots of people running Tor even if they don't need to, even if the implementation may not be the "best" possible, for various definitions of best, is that it dilutes the number of users using Tor for "bad" things.

I don't know what the percent of users of Tor are using it for the standard list of things the government needs to save us from, but you know that eventually the argument will get made, which owing to the nature of Tor will be almost impossible to disprove, that basically everyone using it is doing something illegal and thus running a node makes you an accomplice, and using Tor is probable cause for the government to come and search your stuff.

If that argument has not already been made in court you know it is only a matter of time before it is.

about 6 months ago

San Jose Police Apologize For Hiding Drone Program, Halts Until Further Review

jcrb Not an apology (59 comments)

They make no mention of having been clearly non-responsive to the FOI request. The FOI asked for "Acquisition documents" that they hadn't got one yet doesn't get them out from having been trying to get one. And the excuse of "well we didn't know what the other department was doing" fails, the whole point of a FOI request is for them to find out of someone has the documents in any of their departments. The real problem is that these FOI laws lack meaningful penalties for failure to properly respond so no one ever does.

about 6 months ago

Train Derailment Dumps Two 737 Fuselages Into Clark Fork River

jcrb Re:How did this get modded up (187 comments)

You can't prove a negative

It's called proof by contradiction.

No you have it backwards, proof by contradiction is a method of showing something is true by showing that if it were false it would be a contradiction with something known to be true. An example in this case would be to say,

"assume there are purple unicorns, that would imply through a chain of logic that there can not be pink spotted elephants, since we know that pink spotted elephants do exist then purple unicorns can not exist, QED"

since you are likely to have difficulty finding a contradiction that results by assuming that purple unicorns do exist this method of proof it unlikely to helpful in this case.

about 7 months ago

Train Derailment Dumps Two 737 Fuselages Into Clark Fork River

jcrb Re:Warranty (187 comments)

What the fuck?

The illegibility that you find so shocking would seem to come from the terminal the poster is using (based on their previous comments) the content would seem to come from the fact that all they appear to want to do is assert that various political view points are bad along with those who hold them regardless of how relevant it might be to the discussion at hand.

Or their views on the world may just be the result of living in Seattle and not having sex for 20 years, can't tell which is the cause and which is the effect.

about 7 months ago

The World's Worst Planes: Aircraft Designs That Failed

jcrb Re:Does not matter (209 comments)

Yes this is how we advance the state of the art.
Among my favorite engineering maxims are;

Experience is directly proportional to the amount of equipment ruined


Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.

about 8 months ago

$30K Worth of Multimeters Must Be Destroyed Because They're Yellow

jcrb They only had no idea because they didn't look (653 comments)

If you go to the USPTO trademark search and put in "multimeter and yellow" the FIRST result is a Fluke yellow multimeter.

If you are in the business of making multimeters and claim you have never heard of Fluke or seen one you are clearly full of it.

Company caught clearly knocking off other company's product tries to play the "trademark laws is bad, boo hoo" card.

Not impressed

about 10 months ago

Through a Face Scanner Darkly

jcrb Buy stock in cap and sunglass companies (336 comments)

Soon everyone is going to want to look like a movie start hiding from the paparazzi.

Ski masks, they're not just for bank robbers any more..

about a year ago

Now On Video: GCHQ Destroying Laptop Full of Snowden Disclosures

jcrb Re:Wasn't this a movie? (237 comments)

No you misunderstand the nature of recovering data from a HDD. It s not that the data from the 49th overwrite could be recovered, it is that the data from the 1st write might be recoverable. How is it that the data from the 1st write could be recovered but the data from the most recent couldn't be? Because if the 1st write sits for a long time then 1 that was written to the drive when over written by a 0 becomes not a 0 but a 0.1 or the 0 overwritten by a 1 becomes a 0.9 not a 1. so while the drive itself is not going to be able to recover anything if you just write 0's to the whole drive, someone with better equipment that is prepared to read the drive over and over may be able to sift out the 0's and the 0.1's as if they were 0's and 1's. So by randomly writing 0s and 1s back and forth you give all the bits a randomized amount of magnetism and make it unrecoverable.

So if the disk had one set of data stored on it for an extended period of time and then you wrote a new set of data there would be a period of time where you could 0 the drive and potentially recover the first set of data, so at most you could say the drive contains somewhat less than 2X its rated capacity, with great difficulty.

about a year ago

Meet the MOSS Modular Robots (Video)

jcrb Re:Think of the children!!!!! (22 comments)

In the words of a famous rooster...

  "That's a joke, ah say, that's a joke, son."

about a year ago

Meet the MOSS Modular Robots (Video)

jcrb Think of the children!!!!! (22 comments)

I'm sure the government will step in and protect us from these products just as they did with Buckyballs.

Buckyballs were sold as adult office toys and the Consumer Product Safety Commission still felt the need to save the children from swallowing the ball magnets. Given that these say they are for ages 8 and up I don't think they stand a chance... which is sad because they certainly look like they could be a lot of fun.

Clearly what they need to do is include an "Emergency Extraction Super Magnet Rescue Tool" (that is too big to swallow) with each set along with a DVD copy of the movie Fortress, and print "Rescue Tool Instructional Video" on the DVD, and then they should be good to go.

about a year ago

Congressmen Say Clapper Lied To Congress, Ask Obama To Remove Him

jcrb Sadly (383 comments)

It's not a "lie" if they aren't convicted, and even then for most people it will still be a "misstatement".

The win at all costs nature that American politics have turned into as of late have made seeing just how blatant a lie you can get away with part of the game rather than something to be avoided.

Asking nicely for his removal will accomplish nothing at all. Either go for conviction or don't bother. Saying "he's not nice and we don't like him anymore" is not going do anything other than cause the administration to chuckle.

1 year,2 days

Bletchley Park's Bitter Dispute Over Its Future

jcrb Re:"Modernizing" museums is a blight on the world (99 comments)

Since University in 1992 I have been going to the science museum 4-5 times a year..

In that time they have closed;


let me say no more... Dumbing down or poor curation ?


1 year,3 days



What happens when they steal movies from me?

jcrb jcrb writes  |  more than 3 years ago

jcrb writes "So after years of resisting any sort of e-book or other such online DRM encumbered practice I decide to join all the other people I see happily watching movies next to me on the plane. And in my second attempt the experience is even worse than I had though it could be.

I rented a movie from the Android market, pined it and downloaded it to my tablet, and then *poof* one day it was gone like it never was there. A movie I had watched that had the 24 hour period on it still showed up as having 20 days remaining, but the movie I didn't watch, was gone. AND it was gone from my market purchase history too, because the rights owner had pulled it from the market place without warning it was taken away from me with no notice.

And here is the kicker, while they deleted even the record of my purchase from my market place account, I had to ask for a refund to get my money back.

So how many peoples money have they kept who didn't notice this, or don't realize they have to ask for a refund, particularly given that it says they don't give refunds and you have to go a few levels deep before you come to the place where you can find a button for a refund.

The movie was The Adjustment Bureau, which looked interesting, but now that they have said they don't want my money I'm sure as heck not going to buy it when they put it back on the market place."

Life imitates art?

jcrb jcrb writes  |  more than 4 years ago

jcrb writes "If this missile isn't ours, then someone is launching ICBMs *from* our waters, thinking of all the movies based around provoking war between the superpowers by similar scams, "You Only Live Twice", "Buckaroo Banzai", etc I hope this isn't a case of life imitating art"
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